MINNEAPOLIS, MN — What causes American businesses to pay an estimated $3 to $5 billion a year in medical expenses and costs for lost wages, sick leave, absenteeism and lowered productivity1? The answer may surprise some business leaders: It's the effect of domestic violence on the workplace.
A new Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) program, "None of Our Business," which airs October 3 at 8 p.m. on TPT's Minnesota Channel 17, depicts the impact of domestic violence on the workplace and provides strategies for preventing and addressing this crucial issue in the work setting.
Verizon Wireless, a corporate supporter of programs that help prevent domestic violence, has provided nearly $40,000 to underwrite the production of the program and the associated DVD training tool. Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless' Great Plains Region leadership team members and retail store managers piloted the DVD and training tools in their Minneapolis office.
"While many people recognize that domestic violence is one of the most pressing issues of our time, most business leaders have yet to realize the impact such violence has on the workplace," said Nancy Clark, presidentGreat Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. "We've underwritten this important production with the hope that it will raise awareness of this issue and elevate the discussion of what business can do about it."
The "None of Our Business" program was taped in front of a live audience in a TPT studio in February 2004. The program introduction and six workplace scenes tells the fictional story of Patrice Gleason whose co-workers gradually catch on to the violence she faces at home. The program dramatizes the impacts of domestic violence on the workplace: Gleason's many absences; the time, additional workload, curiosity and frustration that consume her colleagues; and ultimately, the costly distraction of a crisis for both her employer-and her husband's.
The program concludes with comments from the studio audience and expert commentary by project partners Donald Gault of Saint Paul-Ramsey County's Department of Public Health and Connie Lewis, executive director of the Sheila Wellstone Institute. It is hosted by Ken Stone, a TPT broadcast journalist.
The associated "None of Our Business" training materials contain a DVD of the TPT television program that is divided into chapters and supplemented with special features. A companion-training manual includes two training formats: a brief 90-minute session and an in-depth three-hour session. The training materials can be customized to reflect each company's policies and procedures for what actions they would like their managers and employees to take in response to a domestic violence situation.
"The training materials show employees how to recognize and respond to domestic violence in an appropriate way in the workplace," said Gault, who has served as project coordinator for Ramsey County. "With the support of Verizon Wireless and TPT, this important training tool is now accessible nationwide."
"None of Our Business" was originally created in 1997 as theatre-based training by Marysue Moses and Alfred Harrison of Theatre at Work, Inc. of Saint Paul, Minn. The play's development was commissioned by the Workplace Action Team of The Initiative for Violence-Free Families and Communities in Ramsey County, Minn.
The DVD and training materials are being made available through the Sheila Wellstone Institute for $399 for companies and $199 for government organizations and nonprofits. For information contact Connie Lewis of the Sheila Wellstone Institute at (651) 645-3939 or order on-line at: www.wellstone.org/swinstitute.
1Safe at Work Coalition, 2003 and Bureau of National Affairs, 1990.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 40.4 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.